Mambas shock Morocco
Mozambique took a giant step to qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa next year when they beat Morocco 2-0 in Maputo at the Machava Stadium in the first leg of the qualifiers on Sunday afternoon.
Amiro Lobo and Elias Palembe scored the two vital goals in the second half after a quiet first stanza.
The hosts were enjoying the majority of the possession in the opening 15 minutes of the match against Morocco, but could not create any clear-cut chances in front of goal.
In the 26th minute things were a bit more balanced, but it was hosts Mozambique who came close with Almiro Lobo's rising shot tipped over the bar by the Moroccan goalkeeper Aziz El Qinani.
In the 33rd minute some nice interplay between Morocco’s attacking players saw them cut through the home side’s defence, but the move ended with several blocked shots.
Four minutes later the visitors had a chance to threaten the Mambas’ goal area when they won a free-kick which was then taken by Mbark Boussoufa. His cross found the head of Adel Taarabt and the Queens Park Rangers midfielder saw his effort brilliantly saved by the keeper.
At half time it was goalless in Maputo.
When the second half started Morocco were once again sitting back and inviting pressure.
And it came as no surprise when Mozambique too the lead in the 79th minute.
Elias Pelembe slipped a low ball into the box for Almiro Lobo to tap home and give the Mambas the lead.
On the stroke of full time in the 90th minute, Morocco had a chance to grab a vital equalising goal as Taarabt neatly laid the ball off to El Hamdaoui, but the Fiorentina man could only guide the ball over the bar.
In added time Pelembe scored a second goal in the 93rd minute to send the fans in the Machave Stadium in Maputo into raptures as he doubled Mozambique’s lead.
A free-kick was knocked into the box and the Moroccan keeper Aziz El Qinani flapped at it with his hands and Pelembe smashed it into the net, 1-0.